Condado de Alhama News

The Latest news in and around Condado de Alhama

Spring into Summer

Posted by lesley tann on March 28, 2015

Finally, after a week of clouds, rain and icy winds, a switch has been flicked on somewhere and summer has arrived in our small part of Spain.  Just in time for many holiday makers as the resort springs into life with children filling the gardens and people all about making the most of the Easter holidays.  Rumour has it there was even children in the pool – crazy, its not that warm –  bet they weren’t Spanish or Spanish residents.  Its very apt that the weather has changed as tomorrow is the first day of Summer – remember those clocks go forward. 

Al Kasar’s business are waking up ready for the Easter period.  Going around the square, La Cata is now open with a new menu and check out the new inside refurbishment.  The ice-cream parlour has re-opened under new management,  Lynn and Neil of the Clover have taken it over and are selling ice-creams and snacks.  The Bulgarian has a new name, Restaurant Sofia,  The Clover is open as usual, whilst the French restaurant remains closed.  Chris and Marie re-launched the Bokao last night.  They have taken over from the previous owners and are planning to continue to run the bar and provide the excellent Menu del dia and Tapas menu introduced over the Winter.  Eden Beauty continues to keep us ladies looking good while the patisserie, El Rincon, tucked away in the sunny morning corner, is growing from strength to strength with Javier and Michaela, or Micky as she is known, slowly building up the business with their increasing number of regular customers.  The bread, pastries, cakes and coffee are all delicious and finally completing the circuit we have Big G’s American diner, reopened after their winter break.

Around the resort we have a new Laundrette, situated in the Condado Club was we are told is many a key holder/cleaners saviour over the recent period of bad weather as getting washing to dry was difficult – with either the washing on the lines blew away or got soaked.

Today I ventured out and found a new value for money eating place.  Carrefour in the Cartagena’s Espacio Mediterraneo Centre.  The small cafe area is to be found in the walk-way from Carrefour to the shops.  Here you can buy portions of pizzas, quality baguettes, pastries, muffins, doughnuts and hot and cold drinks for 1 euro each.  There is also a selection of cold tapas dishes which are purchased in a plastic tub to eat there or taken away.  Amazing value and excellent quality.  So if you venture shopping over your Easter break and need a snack that’s my recommendation for today.

Thanks to the people I spoke to yesterday that reminded me that people look forward to my blogs and enjoy the Easter break where ever you may be

Lesley

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43 or Cuarenta y Tres

Posted by lesley tann on January 20, 2015

Have you travelled from Cartagena to San Javier/La Manga on the CT 32 and seen the orange, yellow, green and red striped building and wondered what it is?

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Its the 43 factory.  43, Cuarenta y Tres  is a Spanish liquor made from 43 ingredients produced exclusively in Cartagena .  The exact ingredients is a closely guarded family secret but it includes oranges, lemons, vanilla and herbs.  The stripes on the factory building represent the ingredients.  At the entrance the red stripes represent the red in the Spanish flag.  

The factory offers tours for large and small groups of people and is an excellent day out.   The tour includes sampling 43 with coffee as a welcome drink, learning about the history of the drink and how and where it is produced and finally some cocktails sampling.  The tour costs 10 euros including drinks and 7 euros excluding drinks. 

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43 can be drunk neat, over ice, with tonic or orange juice or used as a base for a variety of cocktails – beware its 33% proof.  The Clover are thinking of adding a 43 to their cocktail list so watch out for it in the summer.    The miniature beer in the picture above is actually 43 served extremely cold with cream on top.

For more information about the tour follow the link below to Murcia Today http://murciatoday.com/experience-43-a-fascinating-half_day-guided-tour-to-the-licor-43-factory-and-museum-cartagena_20840-a.html#.VKwdVmyuIl5.mailto

The factory is close to Cartagena so could be combined with a trip into Cartagena, the port or the centre with its lovely tapas bars and restaurants or a trip to the Mediterraneo Espacio Shopping Centre for a bit of retail therapy.  A mini bus took us to the factory, we paid 15 euros for a taxi for 4 to get from the Factory to the Espacio Centre (the factories tour guide arranged the taxis for us) and arranged for the bus to pick us up at the Espacio Centre.  Great day out!

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Twin Towers of Condado are gone!

Posted by naranjosjardine1 on January 12, 2015

Last Thursday we all began to wonder, what was happening to the Twin Towers or the old Polaris cement tower.  Something was going on.  Bits were taken off but strangely some bits were added back on.  We all wanted to believe the cement tower  was coming down and today our prayers were answered – a great big crane came and down it came.  So the Villas and Naranjos gardens can finally enjoy the view of the mountains without looking past the ugly cement towers.  And here is the final stages of  the tower being dismantled.

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It was all action along the outside road today with not only the cement tower being removed but the lemon pickers were picking on mass and the gardeners were cutting back the palms.  Apparently, somebody was telling me recently, the palms have to be cut outside of weevil season as weevils can burrow into the freshly cut wood and start living inside the tree which is potentially lethal. Over time the palms will naturally put a seal on the cut wood preventing the tiny weevil from digging in.

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So in the sleepy resort of Condado where nothing usually happens in January – its action all the way!  Tomorrow I’m off to the 43 factory – now that, I’m looking forward to.

Happy New Year.  Lesley

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Off to Granada

Posted by naranjosjardine1 on November 29, 2014

Thursday the day started foggy but the promised rain kept away however Friday afternoon the rain came down and indoor pursuits were best.  So in that vain I decided to write about my trip to Granada.  The trip from the coast up to Granada was spectacular.  The motorway carved through the mountains which made for easy travelling.  We arrived in Granada and found the campsite with amazing ease – Sat Nav’s and a technical genius helped of course.  We stayed in a suburb of Granada called Zubia and quickly found the downside of Granada – its cold! Afternoon temperatures were around a chilly 10 oC even though the sun was shining.  Apparently it is very hot in Summer and freezing cold in Winter with not a lot in between.  One day its hot and Summer and around October/November time the weather changes rapidly and it becomes cold and Winter – more or less over night. 

Granada has a great bus service which is just as well because taking a car into the city centre will be a nightmare.  Roads start off wide and disappear into narrow lanes or open into squares packed with restaurants and bars with seemingly no way out for cars.  The bus routes are planned out by dividing the city into circles meeting in the centre of Granada with buses travelling around each circle every 10 – 15 minutes making the city easy to get around on foot and public transport.

So why visit Granada.  In 711 the Moors invaded the Iberian peninsula and occupied most of Portugal, Spain and some areas of Southern France.  They came from Morocco and were of Arab and Berber descent and Muslim.  They ruled parts of Spain for 800 years.  They were slowly pushed out of Spain by the Christians.  As they were forced out of Valencia and Andalucía they retreated to the area of Granada and it was here they left their legacy to Spain.  The Moors were scholars and introduced many scientific ideas in areas including mathematics, astronomy, geography, chemistry, physics and philosophy.  Education was available to all in Moorish Spain as compared to a 99% illiterate rate in Europe where even some kings could not read or write.  The Moorish Kings lived in comfortable, light airy palaces whilst in Europe, at the same time, some kings were living in what amounts to a barn with a hole in the ceiling to let out the smoke from the fires.   The Moorish cities of Cordoba, Cadiz, Seville and Granada were modern cities featuring many universities, paved streets and well lit streets long before any other European city could boast these aspects.  Their buildings were well constructed and richly decorated – this is why Granada and all the cities previously mentioned are worth a visit.    

The main attraction of Granada is the Alhambra Palace.  It is Spain’s number one tourist attraction, a UNESCO world heritage site and well worth a trip.  Its gardens and palaces are well preserved and quite spectacular. The number of visitors is limited so its best to buy the tickets, well in advance, on-line before you go.  Payment is accepted via a credit card and the tickets are collected at the palace on the day by inserting the credit card into special ticket machines.  Entrance to the palace and gardens costs 15 euros which includes a map plus extra for an audio guide available in most languages.  You have to book a time  to go into the Nasrid Palaces and make sure you queue at the correct time.  The queue appears long but disappears quickly.

Alhambra Palace is a collection of palaces and gardens built to house the Moorish rulers and their royal households.  Construction started on the Nasrid Palaces in 1238 by Muhammad I al-Ahmar and added to by other rulers over the Moorish occupation.  After the Moors were driven out of Spain by Isabella Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon (the parents of Catherine of Aragon that married Henry VIII)  the palaces went through major renovations, were altered and continued to be the royal household for some years.

Below is pictures of the gardens and the Garden palaces which the Moorish leaders used as summer houses or as places to go and relax. As the Gardens are high on the mountains there is always a spectacular view of Granada below.

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and inside the Nasrid Palaces and the other surrounding palaces there is plenty of stunning architecture to be seen:

The palace is situated high above the town of Granada and can be accessed by walking a steep hill or riding the little train that goes around the Moorish part of Granada – Sacromonte and Albayzin, around the Cathedral and includes Alhambra Palace as part of its circular tour.  It is a hop on, hop off with many stopping places along the way.  Its a great way to become familiar with the old parts of Granada  and costs 8 euros plus extra for an audio guide. Some of the streets of Granada are very narrow which is why the ‘little’ train is great, it gets you places difficult to access by bus or cars and saves those tired feet. 

From the vantage point of the Palace there is a panoramic view of Granada below and the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains above and the reason why our trip was so cold – snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada!

Hopefully I have given you a taste of Granada, I can’t wait to go to Cordoba.  

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Romeria de Bolnuevo (Bolnuevo Sardine Festival)

Posted by naranjosjardine1 on November 27, 2014

At the weekend along with friends we joined the Spanish and celebrated the festival giving thanks to the Virgin de la Purisima.  We were all educated the week before by Miquel of the Clover who was part of the team that was to carry the Image of the Virgin from Mazarron back home to Bolnuevo.   The Virgin de la Purisima is reputed to have saved the town of Mazarron in 1585 from Berber Pirate attack, thus the festival to remember the event and pay homage to the image of the Virgin. 

There is a detailed history account on-line in Murcia Today http://murciatoday.com/romer%C3%ADa-de-bolnuevo_8291-a.html#.VHXkupp0zIU    

The week before the festival the Image of the Virgin is carried from her home in Bolnuevo on a 6 km journey to Mazarron by a procession of people singing, dancing and marching.  She stays in Mazarron for a week and returns, on the day of the festival, to Bolnuevo.  The  Virgin is carried through Bolnuevo’s main road, paraded along the beach then blessed in an open ceremony on the beach.

On Sunday the Image of the virgin was carried by a team of strong men, including Miguel.  Apparently they each hold the heavy base for approx. 2 minutes then swap with others and keep swapping to save their stamina.  They are encouraged by the rest of the possession singing and dancing as only the Spanish can.

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The Image of the Virgin was followed by a parade of horses.  As many as 75 horses, including horse and carts, donkeys, mules of all various sizes paraded through Bolnuevo main road,  all ridden with great skill by riders of all ages from really small children to older people.  As the parade stopped and started along the way the riders gave a display of their fantastic dressage and equestrian skills, obviously proud of their magnificent horses.  I know Spain has a heritage of horse riding but it is rare to see such a public display.

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Traditionally the parade and blessing is followed by the giving out of sardines on the beach.  Families and friends gather in groups and bbq the sardines and have a beach party Spanish style.  They have marquees, pergolas, large tents or a homemade shelter with tables, chairs full of the necessary food and drink to enjoy a BBQ on the beach.  The only night camping on the beach is allowed in Bolnuevo is the Saturday before the festival to allow preparations of the beach parties to be set up in advance of Sunday as the road is closed early on the Sunday.  On Saturday Bolnuevo beach was turned into a huge camping ground where the young took advantage of the camping and partied all night.  There was some very bleary eyed teenagers greeting older family members on Sunday morning. 

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As you can see from the picture above, if a tent or marquee is unavailable then it is ok to build your own shelter from builders fencing and plastic. 

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